Thursday, September 13, 2007

As If Broadwater Wasn't Enough

Natural Gas "Island" Threatened Off Long Beach

First came the proposal to build a natural gas barge in the middle of Long Island Sound. Then, a wind farm off of Jones Beach. And now, a natural gas "island" in the waters off of Long Beach.

Gee, aren't we popular!

According to a report in The New York Times, "Atlantic Sea Island has proposed a 60-acre artificial island for a liquefied natural gas terminal south of Long Beach. Broadwater Energy wants a floating liquefied natural gas terminal as big as the Queen Mary anchored in the middle of Long Island Sound. Other companies are considering underwater turbines on the East End to harness tidal currents."

If it seems we're surronded, well, quite frankly, we are. And we aren't getting much help from the powers-that-be in Albany, with Governor Eliot Spitzer all but mute on the plans to turn Long Island's waters into a virtual LNG time bomb, and both the Governor and legislavtive leaders being lobbied extensively by the energy giants whose financial interests lie behind the likes of Broadwater and Atlantic Sea Island.

Forget about being the prospect of a terrorist attack (Osama's next video could be taped on the Long Beach boardwalk). Consider the dangers of liquified natural gaslines, subject to bursting or leaking, barges and tankers, potentially colliding, and the nightmare of an on-site accident, the conflagration sure to give new meaning to the word, "flammable." And "what if" that once-in-a-century hurricane barreled down on Long Island? Is there enough "preparedness" to save us from our own ill-conceived devices?

Just how realistic of a solution to Long Island's energy crunch would all of this gas in our front yards be? A panacea, with enough natural gas to not only keep the furnaces glowing for generations, but also to significantly lower our Keyspan/National Grid bills, or simply more profits for the oil and gas companies, with Long Island only reaping the headaches that come with pipelines, power lines, and other such harbingers of so-called energy independence?

If the special interests of the energy conglomerates weren't enough to give Long Islanders a sinking feeling about Broadwater and Atlantic Sea Island, guess whose firm had been retained, back in 2004, to provide security for the floating gas island?

None other than Giuliani Partners, with the former NYC Mayor, now GOP Presidential hopeful, saying, "We have been retained to provide advice with regard to the security for Broadwater's proposed LNG facility. Additionally, we will make recommendations on the measures necessary to achieve state of the art security. This facility will provide an important additional energy supply to the region, with an emphasis on security.”

Thank you, Rudy. We feel so much safer, already. [Wonder whether former Governor George Pataki will make a return engagement to hold Giuliani's coat?]

The Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) has been active in its opposition to Broadwater, as it continues its legislative campaign on a number of critical environmental issues.

Hopefully, CCE will jump on board efforts to halt the Atalntic Sea Island project, as should all of us who are concerned about the future of long Island's waters and Long Islanders' quality of life.

There is no sound proposal, or, for that matter, a safe harbor, when it comes to liquefied natural gas facilities off of Long Island's shores. Some of us are beginning to smell gas. Let's hope nobody lights a match!

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